phlogiston

[floh-jis-ton, -tuhn]
noun
a nonexistent chemical that, prior to the discovery of oxygen, was thought to be released during combustion.

Origin:
1720–30; < Neo-Latin: inflammability, noun use of Greek phlogistón, neuter of phlogistós inflammable, burnt up; see phlogistic

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To phlogiston
Collins
World English Dictionary
phlogiston (flɒˈdʒɪstɒn, -tən)
 
n
chem a hypothetical substance formerly thought to be present in all combustible materials and to be released during burning
 
[C18: via New Latin from Greek, from phlogizein to set alight; related to phlegein to burn]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Etymonline
Word Origin & History

phlogiston
1730, "hypothetical inflammatory principle," formerly believed to exist in all combustible matter, from Mod.L. (1702), from Gk. phlogiston (1610s in this sense), neut. of phlogistos "burnt up, inflammable," from phlogizein "to set on fire, burn," from phlox (gen. phlogos) "flame, blaze" (see
bleach). Theory propounded by Stahl (1702), denied by Lavoisier (1775), defended by Priestley but generally abandoned by 1800.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Science Dictionary
phlogiston   (flō-jĭs'tən)  Pronunciation Key 
A hypothetical colorless, odorless, weightless substance once believed to be the combustible part of all flammable substances and to be given off as flame during burning. In the 18th century, Antoine Lavoisier proved that phlogiston does not exist. See Note at Lavoisier.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

phlogiston

in early chemical theory, hypothetical principle of fire, of which every combustible substance was in part composed. In this view, the phenomena of burning, now called oxidation, was caused by the liberation of phlogiston, with the dephlogisticated substance left as an ash or residue.

Learn more about phlogiston with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature